Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sometimes I stop, and think,

I live in Switzerland.

And I am so thankful for all the opportunities in my life, for the beautiful and amazing friends I've made so far, and for the epic, inspiring beauty of this part of the world.

Yesterday I watched Lord of the Rings with my friends, and I am always so inspired, and so envious, of the adventures of others - but today, when I was driving to church, there was a beautiful, clear view of the French Alps, and it took my breath away all over again, and I remembered I am on an epic adventure of my very own, and my life is full of beauty and love, and incredible people, and I was so content, and excited.

While I am anxious to see what my life will look like come August, when I leave, right now I am so exhilarated for the possibilities and opportunities that are before me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I had a great time in Luzern (Lucerne) this past weekend. It was a really spur of the moment trip, but those are the best kind, aren't they?

This past Friday night we caught a train at 6:45 from Lausanne to Luzern. Jenna had booked us a room at the Hotel Traveller (or something like that), and we went straight there from the station. It wasn't exactly at 5 star hotel, but it was clean, with really, really comfy beds. The best part was our view: we had a little balcony looking out over the river. We got to our room, unpacked, and then decided to go out for a drink. We went to an English pub, and I had a pint of Strongbow (yea!), and we soon decided to call it a night.

Saturday, we woke up to snow. It was so beautiful. Big, beautiful flakes were falling, and it looked like Christmas. We got all packed up, checked out of the hotel, and made our way to the train station to store our baggage in a locker. On our way to the train station, we stopped by a Catholic church to look inside. It was really beautiful, but Brad whispered something to me that was soooo true: "It's beautiful, and in the Italian style, but it's still so Swiss austere, isn't it?" I didn't get any pictures to prove his point, because there were a lot of older people inside praying. I would have liked to go in and pray, but right when I was about to leave my bag with Jenna, Brad asked if we should get going. Oh well.

We then crossed the Chapel Bridge. I really didn't get any pictures of it, and honestly, I didn't care too much after Bertrand told me it burned in '93, and they rebuilt it and repainted it - nothing is original. It's still lovely, don't get me wrong... We then stored our baggage for the day in a locker, and headed to Starbucks to warm up and get some caffeine in our systems. We hung out there for a while, and it just felt so very Christmasy, with the red cups, Christmas music, and snow falling furiously outside. It reminded me a little bit of Minnesota, sitting at the Starbucks in Roseville (before the bridge collapse), and it made me happy. The only difference was the melange of languages around us, and seeing gorgeous old buildings and the Chapel Bridge out of the window.

We really just wandered around the whole day. It was really nice, and really cold. I found out my boots didn't do much in terms of protecting my feet from mushy snow, and my feet were soaked. So I had cold, wet feet until we could get our stuff from our locker and I could change my shoes (aka 7 hours later). I was sad and a little uncomfortable, but I tried my hardest not to complain too much, because no one likes a complainer.

We went and saw the lion carved into the rock, and it was so beautiful - I think it was my favorite part of Luzern. I love love love lions, and I think (ok I know) that's mostly due to the Chronicles of Narnia... I'm such a freak, I know. Anyway, Brad was telling us all about it, something to do with Swiss mercenaries being betrayed, so it was a memorial... I didn't really pay attention to him. Sorry Brad. My feet were too cold and wet.

We decided to have some fondue, and we found a place that looked amazing - like a beer hall. Dark wood paneling, wood beams in the ceiling, coat of arms everywhere.... but the music. Oh God, the music was awful. I honestly don't know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't CHER. Or cheesy piano renditions of The Beatles. But seriously, there was a lot of Cher happening in that restaurant, and it wasn't good. The fondue was good. Not the best I've had (my favorite is Bertrand's, honestly, not sucking up to my employers or anything), but still yummy and satisfying after a cold, wet day. The wine we had warmed us up, as well.

At 7 we headed back to Lausanne, and I was able to change into warm, cozy, dry socks & boots on the train (thanks Dan for sending me an awesome pair of socks!). We decided to not call it a night, and went to Brad's apartment with a few more friends joining us, and watched Iron Man, which is really a good movie. After the movie, it was very, very late, and I headed home with Jenna to spend the night at her place.

I LOVE Jenna's house. It needs some work, yes, but it's sooooo cool. It's a converted barn, and it's all wood and stone and low ceilings and vaulted ceilings and nooks and crannies. Outside it's all stone and covered in ivy, and there are roses and rosemary growing in the garden. I love it. Dad, you would love it. Anyway, we stayed up late chatting, and then slept in nice and late Sunday, and made scrambled eggs and bagels. And then we watched Cars. Which, really, is an adorable movie, and I love it. And Jenna had never seen it all the way through, so we watched it together. She liked it too. After, we took a walk around her village, which I think is quite lovely, and then we made Coconut Mud Bars, which were divine. We then had to head out to church, and thus ended a really nice weekend.

Pretty town
It was so pretty at night, so I used a block of concrete as my tripodMy traveling buddies, Brad, Paul, and JennaJenna and I in front of the lionThe lion! Dan gave me the Latin translations, but I forgot already.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I have such a ball with my friends. I am having so much fun exploring Switzerland, and I am soooo excited for the holidays, because I'll get to travel with my favorite person in the whole world - Dan! Yea!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, fellow Americans! I am going to a great big Thanksgiving with TNT (aka church small group), so it will have a bit of an international flair to it as well. It should be a blast.
À bientôt!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm unexpectedly heading off to Lucerne this weekend.
I have fun friends.
Au revoir!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Dollar.

The dollar is slowly and steadily rising against the Swiss Franc. While this is great for my family & friends who will come visit, I'm slowly getting paid less... When I first came, my salary was about equal in CHF & USD. Now, it's approximately $150 less... Insert sad face here. It's great, the dollar has been weak for a long time, but I'm just thinking about me here....

Looks like I'm just going to have to save more money before I return back to the States. C'est la vie.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a good weekend.

I really don't have anything in particular to blog about, so I thought I would just update everyone on my weekend.

Right now it's about 1:30, and soon I need to head to church for practice. I've been getting involved in music, and it's been a lot of fun. Ivana is leaving today for England, so things are in a bit of an uproar around the house. Ronie the cat is sleeping on my bed, and I think she's super lazy, because she slept on my bed from about 7:30 last night to 7:30 this morning, and she came back in around 12:30 to take another nap. The only other animal that sleeps that much is Millie.

Friday was nice, I met up with some friends in Lausanne and we had Starbucks (the Christmas stuff is out here - it's so nice that it's just like home), and then we caught the new Bond movie. I love Bond, I really do. The only thing I really wanted in this movie was a good car chase (the last Bond movie had just a tease of a car chase), and it was delivered. So I was happy.

While we were waiting for our respective trains, Brad, Paul, & I decided to get together Saturday with some other friends at Brad's apartment (AMAZING apartment), and being the nerds we are, we decided to sing through Les Miserables. So, yesterday afternoon, we gathered around Brad's piano, and actually sang the entire score of Les Miz. And it was awesome. Well, we didn't sing through the entire thing, we cut some of the sung dialogue and a few of the difficult pieces (Brad was pretty much sight-reading the piano score), but it was so much fun. We did take a break right after we moved to the second act, and took a walk around Morges, which is a really lovely town. I had to leave the festivities early, because I babysat the children last night, but I had a lovely time with my friends.

I really believe I work with the most amazing children. Last night, after they were in their pjs, and all freshly scrubbed for bed, I led them into their room, only to discover Mathilde's dou-dou was missing. A dou-dou, for those of you who are wondering, is a French name for a child's special stuffed animal. And every child here has one. There are even television shows about little ones and their dou-dous, kind of like Calvin & Hobbes but less awesome. So, I made my way downstairs to find it (it was under the dining room table, God only knows why), and when I got back upstairs, the children were already in their beds, with their nightlight on, waiting for me to tuck them in. I can't believe how well-behaved they are. Seriously. I sang them the special lullaby I sing to them every time I put them to sleep, told them I loved them and turned out the light. As I was walking down to my room, I heard them whisper their goodnights & I love yous to each other. Then they fell immediately asleep. And I'm not making this up. These children are amazing. I love them.

I need to eat a little something before church, and get all packed up and ready, so talk to you later!

Friday, November 14, 2008

when I miss my family...

I look at this picture.

My cool cuz Frank took this at a little family (& friends) gathering in September. Don't I have a great family? I don't know why I didn't share it earlier.

I miss you all, too.

(and a special "I miss you" to Grandpa & Grandma F. I love you both very much! I can't wait to go golfing with you again!)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


It's official!

I'm going to England for Christmas, and Ireland for New Year's.  

Yesterday I booked my flight to Manchester, and I just booked my flight to Dublin, from Manchester.  I'm so excited.  At this point, I don't exactly know how/when I'll be getting back to Switzerland... but it'll all come together.  I'm pretty sure Dan will be able to join me for New Year's and then a week or so in Switzerland, but we're still trying to hammer out the details.    It's hard to plan across an ocean.  

Christmas I'll be spending with my aunt, uncle, & cousins, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't been to visit them yet.  They moved to the UK in '94 (I think...). Needless to say, it's about time I see where they live.  I'll be there for a week, and I then I head to Ireland to (hopefully) meet up with my favorite guy, and hang out with my favorite Irish lads.  It's neat because I'll be visiting the place where my brother worked and lived for a year, and I'll get to meet his friends that didn't attend his wedding.  

Dan and I might head up to Belfast, or fly to Edinburgh, or just travel around the countryside.  I don't know.  I do know that I am so excited!  

I've been here for 3 months now (give or take a few days), and I've traveled a bit around Switzerland, and I've been over the border to France a few times, but I'm really excited to travel a bit more extensively, and especially around some English-speaking countries.  I get frustrated that I can't even ask in Swiss-German, "do you speak English?"  I feel arrogant sometimes, just assuming people speak English.  Oh well.  That's the traveling life, I suppose.  

I need to get back to work.  Mathilde's train will arrive in a half-hour, I need to be there to meet her!  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interlaken & Grindelwald

This post is going to be a lot of pictures because:
1. Everyone likes pictures
2. I feel a little lazy

I had a wonderful weekend with my friends. Interlaken & Grindelwald were beautiful. I also have made some really wonderful friends here, and it was so fun to spend a little time with them.

A short recap... we arrived Friday night, to the hostel, and just had fun playing card games, and the train game, which is hard to describe but really, really fun (like Settler's of Cattan, if you're familiar... if not, I have no reference for you). Saturday we took the train to Grindelwald to do some hiking. Unfortunately, being the off-month of November, all the telecabines were closed. We had to change our plans and just did a short hike around Grindelwald. It was still really lovely.

Saturday night we went out for dinner, and celebrated with Bethany, one of my friends here who just recently received her HR degree. Yea for Bethany! My friend Jenna and I split a pot of fondue and a little bottle of white wine - very, very Swiss, and very, very yummy. After dinner we headed back to the hostel, and popped some bubbly to celebrate with Bethany, and then headed to bed. Sunday, Bethany and I walked around Interlaken, while the other 5 rented bikes and cycled around town. We then had to leave, but left happy.

On to the pictures!
the train game!
walking to the train station before the hike
our lunch spot
it's me!
this country is so beautifulcongratulations Bethany!
the cyclists
(L-R Nicole, Kiri, Brad, Paul, Jenna)

As you can see, I had a lot of fun, and I have great friends. It was such a nice trip, and so nice to get away for a bit. As an au pair, it can get a little tricky, because you live with your bosses. Even if you have an excellent relationship with them (like me), it's still nice to get away, even if it is only a mini-vacation. I know that is well-understood. I can't wait til our next excursion!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm off to Interlaken & Grindelwald for the weekend!

I'll be sure to post a lot of pictures upon my return.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My fellow Americans

It has been extremely interesting to watch the election, and all events preceding it, from the outside.

There is A LOT I want to say, but I'm going to refrain from writing it (mostly). As a Libertarian, a small government advocate, and Bob Barr supporter, I will leave you with these thoughts.

While I'm proud that America has elected its first African-American president, I was not an Obama supporter. Well, I support him now, because he's the president-elect, and I won't contribute to dividing the country. A lot of people assume (especially Europeans) that since I'm young, liberal in my Christianity, and fervently seek help for the poor, I must also support Obama. Sorry, I support Bob Barr.

Alexander Tytler was a 17th Century historian. He studied the rise and fall of nations and taught what is now known as Tytler's Cycle. According to Tytler, all nations go from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to freedom, from freedom to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, and from dependence back to bondage.

Interesting. Ben Franklin really understood this concept, and he said, "when people find out they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

President-elect Obama, please tread carefully. The nation - the world - is watching you with bated breath, and have placed a great deal of hope in you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today I was supposed to meet some girls in Geneva to do some shopping. MAC's holiday collection is being released today in Switzerland! We all have to take different trains/buses to get there, we were going to text/call each other and meet up. Except, someone is a moron and forgot her cell phone in her bedroom, and didn't discover that fact until she was standing alone in the train station in Geneva.

That moron was me.

I had no idea what bus/tram whatever Taryn was taking, and I had a vague idea what train Lindsay was taking, but we managed to not meet up. I waited around for a while, they waited, we were literally SO CLOSE, but after an hour (they already left after a while, thinking I was kidnapped or something), I decided to give up. Defeated, I went to Starbucks, and treated myself to a 7.60 CHF on a grande caramel macchiato, and honestly, it was worth every centime. I'm glad there isn't a Starbucks in Nyon, otherwise I would blow all my money on lattes, just to get a taste of home. I took the train back to Nyon, and bought some things I needed... and some things I didn't.

Starbucks reminded me of some things I miss from home. While at home, I rarely drank Starbucks (well, I did in Chicago, but Minneapolis has 1001 amazing coffee shops), but when I drank a Starbucks latte, it made me so happy, simply because it was familiar.

I miss:
my family
dollar theaters

and that's really about it (do I need to mention Dan? I mean, that just goes without saying.). I'm kind of surprised - I thought I would miss more American things by now. Not that I WANT to miss more, I'm glad I'm content here, it's just funny when I sit down and think about it, I don't miss too much. But, I'm sure things will change, and soon I'll be missing something silly like the way American ambulances sound as opposed to Swiss ones. I'll keep you posted.